Homogenization of Vehicle Fleet Frontal Crash Pulses from 2000–2010

This paper reports on a study undertaken to quantify the characteristics of crash pulses for different vehicle types in the contemporary North American fleet, and delineate current trends in crash pulse evolution. Crash tests are performed to assess vehicle structure and restraint system performance. The authors describe the crash pulse, captured by accelerometers mounted within the occupant compartment, as a measure of the motion of the vehicle during the impact event. The vehicle’s restraint systems must respond to the crash pulse in order to counter the forces and accelerations that act on a passenger, and thus reduce injury risk. The authors gathered data from U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Transport Canada crash test databases on full-frontal rigid barrier crash tests (n = 1,094) of passenger vehicles model year 2000–2010 with impact angle equaling zero degrees. They analyzed the acceleration-time histories for all accelerometers (n = 2,795) attached to the vehicle structure within the occupant compartment. They used custom software to calculate the following crash pulse characteristics (CPCs): peak deceleration, time of peak deceleration, onset rate, pulse duration, and change in velocity. The results showed greater peak decelerations and shorter pulse durations across multiple vehicle types in newer model years as compared to older. For midsize passenger cars, large passenger cars, and large SUVs in 56 km/h rigid barrier tests, maximum deceleration increased by 0.40, 0.96, and 1.57 g/year respectively, and pulse duration decreased by 0.74, 1.87, and 2.51 ms/year. The results also showed that the crash pulse characteristics are becoming more homogeneous in the modern vehicle fleet; this finding suggests that the designs of restraint systems are becoming more universally applicable across vehicle body types.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 299–311
  • Monograph Title: Annals of Advances in Automotive Medicine. 56th Annual Scientific Conference, Seattle, Washington, October 14-17, 2012
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01482999
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 30 2013 10:27PM